Space Traffic Management
Companies and organizations in the space industry support the recommendations of a recent report that the Commerce Department handle civil space traffic management, but say it’s more important that the government settle on an agency and move forward.
A report commissioned by Congress agreed with the administration that the Commerce Department is the best agency to handle civil space traffic management (STM) responsibilities.
A spending bill approved by the House Appropriations Committee July 14 once again rejects an administration proposal to combine the Office of Space Commerce with another office and increase its budget to perform space traffic management work.
Two years after a space policy directive gave it responsibility for space traffic management, the Commerce Department says it is making progress on implementing that policy as it continues to seek additional funding from Congress.
The National Space Council is in discussions with the Federal Communications Commission and other agencies about new orbital debris mitigation regulations after the FCC deferred a decision last month on a controversial set of measures.
The Commerce Department is once again requesting a large budget increase for its Office of Space Commerce in order to work on space traffic management activities after Congress rejected a similar request last year.
The head of the Commerce Department office with the mandate, but not the money, for civil space traffic management says he hopes the recent near-miss involving two satellites will help provide more attention to the issue.
How to better manage space traffic: Aeolus/Starlink encounter shows emails and late-night phone calls no longer cut it
Over the course of three days, attendees of the Advanced Maui Optical and Space Surveillance Technologies, or AMOS, conference agreed on a number of issues regarding space situational awareness and space traffic management, even if they don’t know how to resolve all those problems.
The future of space situational awareness will increasingly rely on governments and companies sharing data that can be used to improve knowledge of space objects and create more accurate warnings of close approaches.
It is possible to build improved space traffic management approaches to ensure safe operations in space, a panel of experts in the field said Sept. 18, but it will require more transparency among satellite operators.
Kevin O’Connell, director of the Commerce Department’s Office of Space Commerce, said the repository, called the Unified Data Library, is the first step in the transfer of some space situational awareness responsibilities as requested by the White House last year.
The Trump administration’s desire to establish a Space Force could be in jeopardy next year after Democrats assume control of the House, while the departure of a key House appropriator could spell trouble for NASA missions to the potentially habitable moon of Europa.